5 Best Yoga Poses For Breastfeeding Moms, To Breathe Your Way Out Of Those Aches And Pains

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As if the changes to your body caused by pregnancy weren't enough to throw you for a loop, you have to switch gears and find your physical footing once again when your baby is born. Understandably, many new moms — myself included — turn to gentle exercises as a healthy way of practicing self care. For women who choose to go the breastfeeding route, you may experience a unique set of posture challenges. That's why you'll appreciate some of these best yoga poses for breastfeeding moms that specifically address nursing-related body pains and posture issues.

If you're wondering about how yoga can help new moms, you're definitely not alone in weighing out the pros and cons of using specific poses to help relieve any strain or misalignment likely caused by breastfeeding. For instance, "your levels of relaxin will still be elevated postpartum — and stay elevated longer with breast-feeding," according to Healthline. This joint-loosening hormone can make certain breastfeeding positions even more uncomfortable or difficult to perform. That's where yoga comes into play. Additionally, the official site for Healthline explained that slower, less strenuous yoga poses allow you to gradually increase your joint stability and overall physical health.

So if you're breastfeeding and aching, here are some yoga poses for you to check out.

1Reclined Cobbler's Pose

Rebecca Pacheco on YouTube

Why it works:

Also known as Supta Baddha Konsana, the reclined cobbler's pose is, "a restorative posture that supports the spine and opens the chest and heart area," Latham Thomas, a fitness expert and doula, told Fit Pregnancy. As it turns out, paying attention to your upper torso is important while exercising to relieve tension and discomfort caused by nursing. "This is especially comforting for nursing moms who often suffer mid-back and shoulder pain from hunching forward and flexing their shoulders with little or improper cushion support when breastfeeding.

How to do it:

Don't have any fancy yoga props? No problem. You can easily replicate the supports required for this pose (hello duffel bag straps and tightly rolled hand towel) which encourages you to lean back fully, as shown in this Supta Baddha Konsana video from Rebecca Pacheco.

2Rabbit Pose

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube

Why it works:

"Rabbit pose lengthens the spine as well as increases mobility and elasticity of the back, neck, and arm muscles," as the aforementioned Healthline article noted. This is particularly beneficial for mothers who are breastfeeding because it focuses on the parts of the body most affected by breastfeeding.

How to do it:

In this rabbit pose instructional video from Yoga With Adriene, you can see that this is basically taking taking the child's pose to the next level. By tucking your chin towards your chest and curving your spine, you're giving your overworked muscles a chance to relax.

3Rag-Doll With Arm Bind Pose

Funky Buddha Yoga on YouTube

Why it works:

It seems that the rag-doll with arm bind pose, "can help relieve tension in the head, neck, and shoulders that can occur from breastfeeding ," as yoga teacher Vyda Bielkus told HuffPost. This makes sense because you are literally letting your upper body hang like a floppy toy (as the name implies).

How to do it:

This twist on the traditional pose — like the rag-doll variation yoga demo from Funky Buddha Yoga — takes stretching to the next level by lengthening your arms while also fully relaxing your head and neck.

4Leg Drain Pose

Howcast on YouTube

Why it works:

The leg drain pose helps breastfeeding moms, "by boosting circulation and helping to drain lymph and other fluids that have pooled in your legs, ankles and feet," as Thomas explained in the previously mentioned Fit Pregnancy article. I practically lived in the nursery room rocking chair for the first few months of my son's life; so I totally understand how your lower body can fall asleep while breastfeeding.

How to do it:

It's fairly self-explanatory and the name pretty much says it all. But in case you'd like to see a step-by-step demonstration, like this legs on the wall yoga pose from HowCast, you're good. If your postpartum body needs a little extra cushioning, you can always add some support under your lower back.

5Cat-Cow

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube

Why it works:

The cat-cow pose, "will counteract that hunched over feeling by emphasizing moving your shoulders down and back and reopening your chest," Ann Pizer, a registered yoga teacher, told Verywell Fit. Personally, this really helped me pinpoint and relax the areas where my spine was locked up, too.

How to do it:

You'll want to pay special mind to not over extend or flex your spine with this pose. For an example, you can check out this video on how to practice the cat-cow properly from yogi Adriene Louise. It might take some practice, but it's well worth it.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.